Blog Archives

Album Review: This is No Fairytale by Carach Angren


a1683979843_2Like most suburban middle class American kids camping was a rather regular part of my summertime curriculum.  And like most camp outs in the middle of the woods a campfire was built at night and around it we sat telling ghost stories, roasting hot dogs, and making smores.  Those times are some of my favorite childhood memories, though not as cherished as they should be.  You see, there was always this one kid, let’s call him Little Billy, who really had a knack for crafting these really dark takes on the classics.  Instead of the man with the hook for a hand popping up behind the campers, Billy took it steps further and had the hook-handed man brutally bludgeon the camper, pop their eyes out with the hook, and suffocate on broken glass.  Then usually the camp chaperone would interrupt and end Little Billy’s macabre imagination.

Turns out Little Billy came from an abusive home filled with alcoholism, schizophrenia, and drugs.  This I never learned about until I opened the paper one day saw an article about how Little Billy had gotten drunk, beaten his girlfriend to death, and then took his own life.  Mutual friends and acquaintances filled me in on Billy’s childhood and my mind immediately recalled those horrible stories he would tell around the campfire.  Since then, I have never been able to look back on those memories the same.  Stuff like this is what I consider true horror.

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Tales From Bandcamp: 5 Doom Metal Bands You Should Know About


Doom+metal+doom+metal_9cc41b_4923534I love me some doom metal.  Riffs as chewy as Dubble-Bubble, grooves that make Fat Albert look like Calista Flockhart, and more experimentation than a suburban teenager who just discovered weed and masturbation.  There’s so much to love from this genre, and yet I see that a lot of doom fans are still stuck in the Candlemass, St. Vitus, Black Sabbath days and they tend to not notice that there are a great amount of bands in the modern scene really innovating on the genre (while simultaneously keeping what’s so great about it intact).

Here’s a little list of five bands (in no particular order) which can be found on Bandcamp I feel any self-respecting doom fan should take the time to listen to.  My rules for this list were they had to have a full album to listen to on Bandcamp naturally, be relatively new, and they have to still be active.  So as much as I’d love to add Avatarium, Order of Israfel, or Alunah, they don’t quite meet my guidelines, so go check them out on your own time.  If you know of some doom bands that you want to shout out, drop a comment!  Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!! Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst


mach_dich_freiIn my CD collection I have a few CDs where I have no idea when or where I bought them.  They just kinda appeared.  One of those is this double CD called Urwerk by Finsterforst.  It’s nothing outstanding; an ok record.  Still for the life of me, I can’t remember ever buying it.  Anyhoo, I’ve only really listened to it a handful of times and it basically sounds like Moonsorrow plus an accordion player hopped up on a cocktail of cocaine and amphetamines.  Not bad, but a tad repetitive, long-winded, and that overload of accordion can get a bit annoying at times.  I do appreciate the ‘what if Korpiklaani were a black metal band’ thing as an experiment, but… Oh, well.  So, when I saw that we got a promo for the latest record from this anomaly in my CD collection I decided to give it a spin to see if these guys were still berating listeners with post-neo-accordion-black-metal.  To my surprise, what I found is nearly a whole different band who kept their best elements, shook their formula around, and sent their accordion player to rehab.  In short, a band which has really matured a lot since my last experience with them.

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Album Review: Beyond the Red Mirror by Blind Guardian


beyond_the_red_mirror_earbook“It sounds like a ‘insert the same band name as the album here’ album.”  In my years as a metal fan and hobbyist writer I have heard and lazily used that phrase way too often.  An Amon Amarth, Primus, Slayer, Tool (one can keep dreaming right?) new album pops up, a quick sum up is requested, and that phrase gets the point across to existing fans quick enough.  It can be a good thing as well as bad.  Sure it says that the pedigree of quality is there but also doesn’t take into account any forward (or backward) progress in the bands unique, established sound may have undergone.  Yet after listening to the newly minted release, Beyond the Red Mirror, from German heart-throbs Blind Guardian I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it summarily.  It sounds exactly like what you would expect a Blind Guardian album to sound like.  Though, allow me to explore that statement just a tad deeper.

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Album Review: Furyon – Lost Salvation


FuryonLostSalvation

As much as I love complicated rhythms, odd time signatures, blast beats, deathly growls, and other wild riffs and things; sometimes I like music that doesn’t have any of that.  There are numerous bands fitting for what I am talking about, but a standout among the newcomers of the music world is Furyon.  From the southern UK comes the latest album Lost Salvation, the sophomore effort from these classic hard rockers. Read the rest of this entry

Retro Roundtable Review: At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian


MI0003036053Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Songs: 10

Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 other ones

Location: Germany

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RoundTable Review: Sylosis – Dormant Heart


sylosis-dormant-heart-300x300Album:  Dormant Heart

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  13 Jan 2015

Songs:   14 (including two bonus tracks)

Length:  67 Minutes

Genre:  Death/Thrash

Studio Albums:  2 EPs plus Conclusion of an Age (2008), Edge of the Earth (2011), Monolith (2012) 

Location:  Reading, Berkshire, England  Read the rest of this entry

Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2014!!!


tumblr_static_cm4blpgifnwo8wokk0wo4scscIt’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things.  Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released.  I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had.  Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler.  To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future.  I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks.  Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: The Stats


MetalCatSorting out my year-by-year hit parades taught me a lot about myself and my changing tastes in metal. If you’re ever so bored that you start drawing faces on all the potatoes in the pantry, you may find it interesting and perhaps illuminating to do such an exercise too.

The big pattern was clear to me before I started making my lists. Even with my museum exhibit of a brain I knew that I’d been listening to less symphonic and heavy metal and more of the harder music over the years. My personal average scores for all my selections are thus an average over a long period, not a snapshot of any particular year in that period. If there’s been a constant over those two decades, it would be prog metal.

I used a fairly common scoring system to analyse my hit parades. For some years I had as few as ten selections and for the last year, 2013, I chose 25 songs. For the sake of consistency I cut my lists to the top 10 songs for each year. Then, for each year, I scored 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on down to 1 point for #10. Microsoft Excel did the rest for me.

But first! Yes! Before I insert my lists, it is is time to reveal one of the best-kept secrets in the Universe… the true identity of Dark Metal Cat, my constant adviser and referee. He’s taken off his costume and revealed himself as…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten, a.k.a. Cookie Cat or Caucus Caterus Cattus or Flubby, the world’s fattest thin cat. He doesn’t play the guitar. He’s a keyboard artist. He can make Windows do things I can’t, and he does it often. My darling wife doesn’t like metal and won’t go to sleep on my desk in front of the monitor, so I couldn’t use her to put in creative typing or exit from unsaved work.

My top bands of the last 21 years

1. Opeth (Sweden), Progressive Death Metal: 73
2. Dream Theater (USA), Progressive Metal: 36
3. Riverside (Poland), Progressive Metal: 33
4. Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Symphonic Black Metal: 29
5. Therion (Sweden), Symphonic Heavy Metal: 27
6. TIE: Borknagar (Norway), Folk Black Metal ~and~ Leprous (Norway), Progressive Metal: 26
8. Arch Enemy (Sweden), Melodic Death Metal: 25
9. Ayreon (Netherlands), Progressive Metal: 24
10. Orphaned Land (Israel), Folk Death Metal: 23

My top metal genres and sub-genres of the last 21 years

1. Symphonic Metal: 127
2. Folk Metal: 125
3. Progressive Death Metal: 105
4. Melodic Death Metal: 87
5. Progressive & Experimental Metal: 78
6. Thrash Metal: 60
7. Gothic Metal: 44
8. TIE: Black Metal ~ and ~ Doom Metal: 39
10. Stoner & Sludge Metal: 38

My top metal countries of the last 21 years

1. Sweden: 219
2. USA: 216
3. Norway: 131
4. UK: 122
5. Finland: 86
6. Netherlands: 71
7. Poland: 65
8. Germany: 43
9. Israel: 33
10. Canada: 26

Album Review: Ghost Brigade – IV – One With The Storm


ghost_brigade_one_with_the_storm_54b7ab2377Label:  Music Kickup

Album:  IV – One With The Storm

Release Date:  3 Nov 14

Songs:  12

Length:  79 Minutes (includes two remixed tracks)

Style:  Hard to define

Previous Albums:  Guided By Fire (2007); Isolation Songs (2009); Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)

Location:  Finland

FFO:  Paradise Lost, Katatonia. Opeth  Read the rest of this entry